Introduction: Projections of America (02:07)
Filmmakers created 26 propaganda documentaries of American life targeted at newly liberated populations.
World War II Erupts (03:51)
Robert Riskin travels to London to give addresses on the radio. As a Jewish American, the screenwriter wanted to help the Allied forces fight Adolf Hitler. After Pearl Harbor was bombed, Riskin returned to the United States and married Fay Wray at William Donovan's residence.
Working for the Government (02:14)
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created an Office of War Information Office to handle all propaganda. Robert Sherwood appointed Frank Capra to direct "Why We Fight."
Pre-Production: "Projections of America (03:02)
Riskin launched "Projections of America," a series of films depicting positive aspects of American life. The Office of War Information hired Envaro Rodakiervich, Alexander Hamed, Irvin Jacoby, Willard Van Dyke, John Houseman, and Joseph Von Sternberg to make films. Guidelines dictated that films projected a positive image of America that Europeans could relate to.
"Swedes in America" (03:13)
The OWI hires Ingrid Bergman to narrate the film. In "Cowboys," a small British schoolchild travels to the west to learn about a cowboy's daily life. Republican Congressman opposed spending money on OWI's subversive activities.
Wray's Pregnancy (02:45)
Listen to an excerpt of a letter Wray wrote to her husband. Riskin travels to London to plan distribution with the Allied Psychological War Effort. Phillip Dunne oversaw production within the United States.
Liberation of Italy (03:50)
Dunne produced "Arturo Toscanini," a film about the Italian conductor who came to live in America; it was to be released immediately after Benito Mussolini was deposed. Riskin negotiated with representatives to show the films and had to combat Nazi propaganda.
Normandy Landings (03:20)
Arriving ships carried films, projectors, and movie screens. The French believed it was another occupation; the Vichy government argued against the American's arrival. Many theaters did not possess electricity or seats.
American Presence (02:48)
At Casino Square Americans showed an autobiography of the Jeep. The "New York Times" reported that audiences yelled "Vive le Jeep" each time the movie was screened.
American Nostalgia (05:38)
Experts describe the impact of Capra and Riskin's optimistic collaborations. Riskin approved Hollywood films to be screened in other countries. "The Cummington Story" depicted a small town that ultimately embraces foreign refugees.
End of 1944 (02:28)
"Projections of America" films were translated into 15 languages to be shown overseas. Wray campaigns for President Roosevelt's re-election. In 1944 Ruskin returned to Europe to distribute films in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Allied Forces Split Germany (02:06)
"On the Library of Congress" depicts a journey into the history of the United States. Ruskin wanted to make the world more inclusive for all races.
Germany Surrenders (07:27)
Klaus Reimer describes the end of World War II in Berlin and watching "Projections in America." Heinz Meder worked as a projectionist. Margit Cohn Siebner returned to East Berlin after the war ended.
Projecting Films Again (02:57)
"Projections of America" created a film about the United Nations. Paul Le Goupil describes the rise of Communist Party in France. Russia began to be perceived as an enemy to the American people.
Riskin's Legacy (03:37)
Riskin returns to writing films in Hollywood. After suffering a large stroke, Riskin is hospitalized for five years and dies at the age of 58. Most Americans do not realize the "Projections of America" series was made.
Credits: Projections of America (00:36)
Credits: Projections of America
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